Introducing - FORTY 4
Their name comes from a Howlin’ Wolf song – “I wore my 44 so long, I've made my shoulder sore”
They call home Liverpool, north-west England (not the most Blues-receptive City in the UK, but with an unrivalled musical heritage none-the-less.)
Their music is Electric R&B based, with a twist of Funk, New Orleans and Texas flavours thrown in. Drawing from the combined influences of individual members, the band have put their own unique slant on some well known material from the genre - as well as some less obvious songs.
Band DNA was created by taking a crossover of influences from five knowledgeable musicians, each adding their own musical genes to the collective.
Neil (Guitar Vox) comes from a background of listening to people like Jimmie Vaughan, Ronnie Earl and a whole host of Texas blues guitarists. For a more updated twist on blues guitar, you’ll find the work of Doyle Bramhall II never far away from his CD player. Also loves the funk rhythm playing of Jimmy Nolan and other affiliated James Brown rhythm section players. Otis Redding is also a big favourite in the vocal stakes, as is Steve Winwood.
Paul-Guitar is Mr Bluesman incarnate, living and absorbing the genre. He has an affinity with the styles of players such as Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as feeling the fringe benefits of embracing the licks of John Mayer, Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II. Other listening favourites include The Arc Angels, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, BB King, Albert King, Dr John and Hendrix.
Steve-Bass Guitar is a man of mystery within the band; an almost shamanic entity; the consummate musician, a man who likes nothing more than stroking his dogs and eating pizza, late at night…
Glen-Keyboards whilst being the youngest in the pack; has a musical appreciation that stretches beyond the brevity of his years. Being a huge fan of the work of Donald Fagan and Walter Becker in Steely Dan, he also has a musical radar tuned into the virtuosity of Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and John Cleary, with many a foray into the genius works of Miles Davis.
Nick-Drums brings a rhythmical feel to the band, derived from a deep respect of Black American music and its overwhelming historical contribution to the backbeat that drives music in the Western World. As well as being infected for life by the music of Motown, Soul, Funk, Reggae and New Orleans, he also cites Living Colour, early AC/DC, Sting, Maceo Parker, Stevie Wonder, Jon Cleary and James Jamerson as examples of ‘wake-up-call’ artists that remain in his psyche today. He also listens to an unhealthy amount of Led Zeppelin...
‘Forty 4’ would like to take their music to wherever there’s an audience who are willing to accept what they do as another branch off the home-grown British-Blues tree. Just keep them watered with plenty of sunlight, and watch them grow.
It doesn’t often happen, and that’s putting it mildly. When was the last time a bundle of youthful energy, polished musicianship and originality like Tipitina landed on the mat unannounced? It’s quite disconcerting. ‘Where did this suddenly come from?’ you ask. The prosaic reply is Preston, Lancs, but the real answer is New Orleans and a few other hot spots along the way; from juke joints and dance halls, warm nights and windy streets, good times remembered and a few bad moments best forgotten. In short, to borrow Hoagy Carmichael’s handy list of life-enhancing ingredients, it comes from ‘swing, boogie-woogie and jive’ - not forgetting the blues and even gospel music. Tipitina is (or are) Justin Randall, Debbie Jones and Gary Barber, joined on certain occasions by Andy Jones, John Battrum and Tom Hill. If you know anything at all about New Orleans music and its great practitioners you know that Tipitina is the title of a piece by the late Professor Longhair, and it is from the Prof and his students - Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Dr John et al - that they draw much of their inspiration. With a background as broad as that, a band can range happily through vast tracts of musical landscape. For instance, we find Dream A Little Dream Of Me, a winsome little pop song from 1931, by Gus Kahn, Fabian André and Wilbur Schwandt, side by side with Hit That Jive Jack, an early hit for the King Cole Trio; and Fats Waller’s immortal Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1929) rubbing shoulders with I Wish I Was In New Orleans by Tom Waits, from his 1976 album ‘Small Change’. Originality manifests itself in many ways, one being the ability to bring seemingly incompatible elements together and make something new and unique out of them - in this case Tipitina’s beguiling and distinctive style. It seems to me that New Orleans music is like an underground stream. The everyday world of pop music, jazz and blues carries on oblivious to its presence until, every once in a while, it rises to the surface and insists on being heard. It happened with trad jazz and Fats Domino’s New Orleans rock in the fifties, with Dr John and his voodoo brew in the ‘60s, with the Neville Brothers and the Meters in the ‘70s and ‘80s - and don’t forget Jools Holland on our own doorstep right now. It’s never a good idea to make predictions, especially in print, but I’d say Tipitina could be next.
"I found the album hugely entertaining and I would hope that Tipitina do very well out of it." - Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2
"Vocalist Debbie Jones is as sultry as a night downtown, while Justin Randall's piano boogies like there's no tomorrow." - JD, Sunday Mercury Newspaper
"Debbie Jones, has a rich, soulful and very expressive voice, well suited to the material. The authentic-sounding soloing of Justin Randall shows a mastery of the various New Orleans piano styles and there is also invigorating solo input from the saxist and guitarist." Bob Weir, Jazz Journal
"...the striking voice of Debbie Jones dominates, but special mention must be made too of moments such as Justin Randall’s boogie tour de force on the fast rocking Breaking Up The House." Chris Yates, Jazz Rag Magazine
“Debbie Jones sings superbly on this sizzling collection of blues-tinged songs. A tipped jazz outfit, Jools Holland will love them” What’s On
“Debbie Jones is as sultry as a night downtown, Justin boogies like there’s no tomorrow. An album with its heart and soul deep in New Orleans. Glorious” The Mail
“Instantly recognisable, Tipitina are really on to something” Paul Jones, BBC Radio 2
“New Orleans music is like an underground stream that rises to the surface every now and then. It happened for Fats Domino in the 50s, Dr John in the 70s, The Neville Brothers and The Meters in the 70s and 80s and for our own Jools Holland. I bet that Tipitina will be the next” The Guardian
“A remarkable CD which conveys the steam-heat of a New Orleans night, a Bourbon Street bar. An exceptional singer, a tremendous blues, boogie and rhythm & blues pianist. A spectacular achievement.” The Jazz Rag
GRAHAM ROBINSON Country Blues Guitarist
Originally from Jarrow on Tyne but now living in Colne, Lancashire, Graham has been a blues devotee since he was 14 years of age. Originally inspired to learn the guitar, and drawn to the blues by the brilliant playing of Peter Green in his days with Fleetwood Mac. This initial inspiration led to a voyage of discovery into the magical world of the blues via B.B.King, Freddie King, Otis Rush, T-Bone Walker and then on to the earliest recorded performers such as Blind Lemon, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Blake, Lonnie Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller and others.
Graham's playing reflects the styles of the early blues masters particularly the east coast, syncopated styles of Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller. However, other major influences include Bo Carter, Lonnie Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis, Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Bill Broonzy, Fred McDowell, Sleepy John Estes, Mississippi Sheiks, Delmore Brothers, and the Memphis Jug Band to name but a few. A typical performance includes impassioned renditions of a selection of songs from the above artists played with energy and conviction on a very old Stella, and National resonator guitars.
During 2008 Graham played at the Colne, Burnley, Dundee, Maryport and Upton-on-Severn Blues Festivals. He has played support to blues performers as diverse as Paul Lamb & The King Snakes, The Spike Drivers, Steve James, The Cadillac Kings, Rag Mama Rag, Michael Roach & Johnny Mars, Olli Brown, Ian Siegal, Hans Theesink and Nine Below Zero at venues throughout the north of England.